Kerman Fastrip Alcohol Investigation

December 3, 2008 6:26:05 PM PST
Investigators say a drunk driver caused the deaths of 14-year-old Thomas Nazaroff and 19-year-old Melina Sandoval. They died in a car crash outside of Kerman back in February.State investigators believe the 17-year-old driver purchased alcohol from the Kerman Fastrip behind me. This concludes a 10 month investigation into a crash that killed two teens and plunged Kerman into mourning.

A state police officer surprised the convenience store late Wednesday afternoon. He posted a notice of suspension for the next 30 days. The Kerman Fastrip is forbidden from selling beer, wine and liquor.

Christine Weldon said, "This is actually an extreme penalty for a sale to a minor offense where this is a first offense they've experienced."

Christine Weldon is with California's Department of Alcohol Beverage Control. She said an investigation started in February. 14 year old Thomas Nazaroff and 19-year-old Melina Sandoval were passengers in an SUV. Skids marks marked the spot where the car crashed. Both Nazaroff and Sandoval were ejected.

CHP investigators believe the 17-year-old driver was drunk.

Weldon said, "Our investigation revealed the 17-year-old driver purchased alcohol from this business earlier in the evening and then went to a party afterwards."

The deaths shocked Kerman. The small community mourned in February after the teens died. Weldon said the convenience store owner accepted the punishment. The liquor license suspension takes effect Wednesday and ends on January 1 2009.

Investigators say they could not track down the clerk who sold the alcohol and they don't know if the driver used a fake ID. The store clerks referred us to their corporate office for a comment, but our phone calls were not returned.

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